Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Real Estate Agent under fire for distributing anti-gay brochure
Andrew Ciastek, a sales representative for RE/MAX, distributed the flyers — which said “traditional family is the best for the future of the kids” — to hundreds of homes in the Port Credit and Lorne Park neighbourhoods.
“I didn’t want to offend anybody . . . I didn’t have bad intentions,” Ciastek said.
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But the brochures infuriated several residents, who filed complaints with RE/MAX, Peel Regional Police and the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
Jon McDonald, a retired teacher who lives in Lorne Park, said he was furious when he discovered the flyer that fell out of his newspaper Tuesday.
“My blood pressure went up 100 per cent. I read it and thought, ‘What does this have to do with selling houses?’ ” McDonald said.
The research cited in Ciastek’s flyer was conducted by Mark Regnerus, a Texas sociologist who said children of homosexual parents are more likely to be unemployed.
After reading the material, McDonald complained to RE/MAX, the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the Peel police diversity unit.
Const. George Tudos said the Criminal Investigation Bureau looked into the incident and spoke to Ciastek about the impact of the literature. No charges will be laid, he said.
Christine Martysiewicz, director of internal and public relations for RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada, said “the views and opinions expressed in this piece do not reflect those of RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada or our agents.”
She said Ciastek will issue a public apology and make a donation to a local charity of the company’s choosing.
Ciastek also told the Star he will apologize “because I understand some people were very hurt. It is the right thing to apologize.”
Martysiewicz pointed out that realtors are independent contractors and do their own marketing. She said there are internal policies governing marketing material, but “not with respect to choice of content.”
The flyer was not vetted by the broker-owner of the Mississauga office, “but it should have been,” she said. It also escaped inspection by the main office.
Martysiewicz said internal policies will be examined at a corporate level “to ensure that agent mailouts adhere to strict corporate guidelines.”